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1994 Radiator Help

mikeinri

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Hey guys,

Spent the weekend replacing the radiator, hoses, etc. Now, I'm leaking antifreeze and transmission fluid from the new radiator.

Not sure where the antifreeze is coming from, could be a bad hose clamp (I used new ones, but they are flimsy and one self destructed as I was tightening it), but it's too cold outside for me to start looking at it now. (My garage is unheated.)

My real question is about the metal transmission lines. The new radiator came with adaptors (brass) which are basically reducers (flare fittings?) that screw directly into the radiator. I was trying not to overtighten those (and damage the new radiator). Are those fittings supposed to get a ton of torque to seat properly? Is there any sort of thread sealant I could use (or even red RTV)?

Also, the lower cooler line fitting was tough to get out of the old radiator, and tough to get into the new one. I used some Liquid Wrench, and eventually got the nut to move freely (the nut that seats the line into the adaptor mentioned above). I was able to start the nut by hand into the adaptor, then tighten it with a wrench. How common is it to see a leak here?

I've replaced a bunch of radiators in various vehicles over the last 25 years, including one on this truck a few years ago, so I'm actually surprised to be having these issues. Of course, it's probably directly proportional to how FREAKING COLD it is outside in New England this week...

I may break down and bring it to a shop, but that would seem to defeat the purpose...

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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Welcome to this forum! I would suggest that you use new hoses, and good quality clamps (not the kind a dollar store sells). Use teflon tape on the brass fittings, and 2 flare wrenches to tighten them (one to hold the fitting while tightening the other one).
 
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StillKicken

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Welcome to this forum! I would suggest that you use new hoses, and good quality clamps (not the kind a dollar store sells). Use teflon tape on the brass fittings, and 2 flare wrenches to tighten them (one to hold the fitting while tightening the other one).

I second that. I had replaced my radiater, and several others before with no problems. The last time I did mine several months ago it leaked trans fluid from there. Took them off and used teflon tape...no problems. Good Luck!
 
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mikeinri

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Thanks guys.

Teflon tape... BRILLIANT! I wasn't sure if that would work with flare fittings (I never tried it before except for normal threaded pipe fittings).

BTW, the hoses are brand new, replaced with the radiator. Leak seems to be coming from the same side as the lower hose. Do you think I shoud re-replace the lower hose?

Also, I got the "clamps" at an auto parts place (can't recall which ones), but they definitely looked cheesy when I got them out of the package. I'll try to find some better ones. I'm not necessarily sure it's the clamps, but that's definitely a weak link and an easy place to start.

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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Lt.Jim

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I had the same problem with the brass fitting for my trans cooler. Keep in mind that brass is a very soft metal and reacts to hot and cold. Sub freezing garage and then warm running engine. I was able to stop those lines from leaking by tightening them after the engine was up to temp. Be very careful doing this. I agree with brooklynbay and stillkickin that teflon tape will help and you are less likely to strip the soft brass fittings. Good Luck.
 
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mikeinri

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Hey Brooklyn.

I need to clarify, because I think you may be reading past something important. Here's what I did:

New radiator
New hoses
New clamps

After that, I now have a new leak on the drivers side (same side as lower hose). I have reason not to trust these new clamps, so I'm going to replace them.

Would you also replace the (new) lower hose as well? Have you ever heard of a new hose leaking?

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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I read that you replaced the hoses, then you asked if you should replace the lower hose, so I thought that it was the only one which wasn't replaced. I think you should connect a cooling system pressure tester to see exactly where the leak is coming from. Maybe it's leaking from a freeze plug onto the lower hose?
 
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mikeinri

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Thanks Brooklyn.

That's why I re-wrote the message. Sorry if I was too confusing.

The pressure tester looks like an excellent investment. Trying to find leaks with the fan running is ridiculous...

I doubt it's a freeze plug (at least I really hope not), because this leak didn't exist before I replaced the radiator (the old one leaked on the passenger side of the truck).

I think with a pressure tester, new clamps and teflon tape, I have a good strategy to deal with this over the weekend. I'll let you know how it goes...

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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mikeinri

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What's the pressure range I should be looking to test at?

I assume there's a minimum pressure for the test to be thorough, and a maximum pressure so I don't damage something?

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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mikeinri

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Thanks Brooklyn.

Got the pressure tester, but spent the weekend laid up with a nasty chest cold. I'll post a follow up when I get this done later in the week.

BTW, what is a "leak down test?" Is that the same as a "vaccuum test?"

Mike
 
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BrooklynBay

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